VNMP seeks volunteers for clean up project

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vicksburg National Military Park is seeking volunteers to help clean and clear a historic African-American cemetery inside the park as part of National Public Lands Day.

Sign-up for the cemetery cleanup begins at 8 a.m. Saturday at the USS Cairo parking lot. Volunteers are encouraged to enter the park though the Fort Hill Drive gate near Vicksburg National Cemetery, Virginia DuBowy, the park’s natural resource manager, said in an email.

Volunteers should come dressed for outdoor work and are recommended to bring a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water.

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“For safety reasons and due to the nature of the work, clothing required includes long-sleeved shirts, long pants, tennis shoes or work boots eye protection, and work gloves,” DuBowy said.  “Those wearing shorts or short-sleeve shirts will not be allowed to participate.”

The park will provide a pizza lunch at noon in the USS Cairo picnic area, and lunch will include a presentation provided by the park’s interpretive staff.

The cemetery was begun after the Civil War, and has rarely been used for burials in the past 30 years, according to the park’s land protection plan.

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Beginning in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers, National Public Lands Day has grown into a yearly tradition.

Last year, about 175,000 volunteers worked at 2,237 sites around the country.

Admission to the park is free during National Public Lands Day.

For more information, call Virginia DuBowy at 601-619-2911 or email